Environment Southland is undergoing an independent legal audit of its compliance processes:
Chief Executive Rob Phillips said today that in light of recent allegations in the media, it was essential that there was public confidence that all of the Council’s regulatory practices were sound, and that the processes for taking compliance action were robust.
“Prosecutions are an essential part of our compliance activity, particularly where there has been a serious breach of the law, a regulation or a rule,” Mr Phillips said. “Everyone needs to be confident that compliance action is based on sound processes that have been carried out with integrity.” . . .
And what were those allegations in the media?
The move follows stories in the The Southland Times involving two separate incidents – one surrounding allegations that Environment Southland compliance officer Chris McMillan altered a statement from police after a stock truck sting, and the other where senior Invercargill lawyer Rex Chapman told The Times Mr McMillan effectively acknowledged under cross examination in court the council’s original written case against a farm owner and manager it was prosecuting contained statements that were not true.
Regional councils act as environmental police and wield wide-ranging powers.
Their processes and staff must be above reproach.